My brother moved out of the house back in 2002 once he got his job as a computer technician, and he recently went missing. When I went to his house, it was locked, with three sheets of printer paper taped to the front door.
While coming home from work one day, I noticed someone had left their damaged, plain grey laptop laying in the middle of my driveway. I got out of my car to examine it more carefully.
The LCD definitely showed signs of user-related damage. There was a large hole on the left side of the screen that appeared to fit a standard Phillips Head screwdriver perfectly. There was a webcam above the display, and it was also destroyed with what looked like the same screwdriver. Other than those, everything else on the computer showed minor signs of wear. Almost all of the keyboard's keys were faded, but not to the extent that the laptop could be considered unusable.
I looked at the back of the display to find out what brand it is, but I couldn't find anything. I looked at the entire laptop's shell, but there was no text or logo stating what brand it was. In fact, there was no warranty sticker, no "Proof of License" sticker on the bottom, no text whatsoever. What was even more odd was the fact that the only ports on the laptop were a VGA port for connecting an external display and a USB port. How long could this laptop have possibly run without a charging port to recharge the battery? It must have been a very low end laptop where you had to remove the battery pack and put it into its own charging dock. Why did it have a webcam, though?
Curious as to what was on the laptop, I ran inside to my basement where my old desktop was currently being stored. The reason it was down there was because I forgot to bring that behemoth to the local SarCan to recycle it. I would have been using it as my regular computer, but it takes five or six hours to fully boot because the system always goes through recovery mode every time you start it, and the processor is way too slow to "recover" everything on the five-hundred gigabyte hard drive I had installed on it (A 120mhz Pentium processor doesn't get you far). I removed the old LG CRT monitor from the desktop and plugged it into the laptop. I went to push the power button when...
...I stopped. There's no way this is going to work, the battery has to be dead by now.
I rummaged around the basement to find my battery voltage tester and immediately withdrew the battery from the laptop and checked the voltage. Lo and behold, it had no charge. Well, I thought, might as well just leave it and take everything to SarCan tomorrow morning.
With that, I unplugged the display from the laptop, put it back into the desktop and simply left everything downstairs. After leaving the basement I went to go watch TV for about three hours or so before going to bed.
I was suddenly awakened from my deep slumber by the sound of the Windows 2000 start up jingle, and fell out of my bed. It was so deafeningly loud, I swore someone was holding a pair of speakers right next to my ears. I stood up in a groggy daze, and it took a couple of minutes to figure out what the sound was. The desktop! I must have accidentally hit the power switch while trying to switch monitors.
I headed to the basement, but froze in the middle of the steps. I just remembered there was no way my computer could have started up, because I have Windows 95 installed on my desktop. I was reluctant to go down the steps after that, but my common sense started kicking in and I thought I must be getting my OS's mixed up. When I walked down, I was shocked to see that my desktop wasn't on; in fact, I remembered it wasn't even plugged in. I had to make sure of it though. I checked behind the desktop - everything else was plugged in except for the power. There was absolutely no chance of that laptop turning on, it was impossible. I removed the battery from the laptop again and re-checked the voltage.
This time, I couldn't get a direct number. The voltage tester was just going insane.
I re-inserted the battery and pressed the power button on the laptop. Some indicator lights flashed, meaning the computer definitely started, except this time the start up jingle wasn't played at all. I needed to see what was going on here. I connected the CRT monitor back into the laptop. And what I saw...
... was a bare desktop with three icons in the corner. The task bar was empty, and there was no Start menu button.
The wallpaper was black. Why would anyone do this to their desktop? Anyone could remove all the icons, but they had to be pretty skilled hackers to remove the Start Menu button. Of the three icons, one was a Games folder, one was a Videos folder, and the last was the DOS Command Prompt program. Maybe this was a kids' laptop?
Clicking on the Games folder confirmed my suspicions; a little girl must have owned this laptop. I felt some remorse for the poor girl because there was only one game in the folder. The program name was "princess.exe". I clicked on it just to see what the game was like. A fully animated title screen came up, with various generic fairytale princesses twirling across the screen, and then the logo flew down with a bunch of sparkly doves holding it. The game was called "Princess Creator: Make yourself Beautiful!"
Ah, so it must have been one of those low budget "put .png of various clothing items onto a photo of yourself" games. I was right, as the menu popped up I was given the option to "Dress up" or to "View pretty pictures". I wanted to see what the girl looked like, so I clicked on the second option. She had to have been no more than five, and on top of that she looked very cute. She was of either Mexican or Spanish origin. She wore a somewhat tattered white dress with small red frills around the sleeves and collar. It had small roses on it. I smiled, as she looked like she had a lot of fun putting a virtual tiara on her head. However, browsing through the photos, about halfway through, there were pictures of a room with nothing else but a bed inside. She must've been dodging the camera for the hell of it, I guess.
After that I felt I'd seen enough with that program, and might as well go see the other two files on the laptop. I decided to go into the Command Prompt to see if I could locate any other files on the hard drive. I simply got a ":\>_" line with no drive letter. Okay, this is really strange, I thought. I typed into the command box "start C:\" to see if I could open the directory I wanted to explore. I pressed enter, and DOS simply replied " 'start' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file." After a few seconds, the program crashed, bringing me back to the desktop.
So I guess the last thing to look at is the videos. I double clicked the folder... and the screen faded to black. I thought it had crashed, but I noticed that there was a small "_" flashing in the top left corner.
Suddenly, the text "start :\>videos\001.wmv" flashed briefly, then a video appeared in full screen. It was the girl again. This time, she was smiling, bouncing slightly in excitement. Her happiness made my heart feel warm. My guess was that she must've been recording herself play the dress up game with the webcam. At first she was simply moving her finger across the track pad, clicking, then giggling excitedly for a bit. She must've been laughing at the things she put on herself in the game.
After about two minutes or so, the screen would cut to black for a fraction of a second and then return to the girl playing the game. This time, however, she was dressed differently, in a simple pink t-shirt with the words "Go Go Girl!" stitched in glitter. I guessed the game was recording her every time she started it, without her knowing. That made me sort of uneasy - I mean, why would anyone program a game to do that? Whatever, I guessed it was going to be the same sort of thing over and over with the video, so I might as well turn off the computer. I reached over and pressed the power button, and...
... It didn't shut off this time. The video continued to play, and I saw the girl this time was wearing an orange tank top with nothing on it. She was smiling and giggling as usual, and I thought maybe I could turn off the computer after the video is done. It couldn't be that long. The video seemed to drag on, with more cuts of her playing the game in a different outfit, and I started to doze off. However, after the next cut in the video...
The girl was just staring at the camera with an expressionless look on her face. Wondering what the hell was going on, I become interested in the video again. This one didn't make me smile. It made me extremely uneasy to watch her without her usual smiley face on. It was dark in the room, but there was one desk light on at the side. She was in some sort of night wear. What was she going to do? She sat there for a minute with that blank expression, like she wasn't thinking at all. I started to get really tense, as if something awful was about to happen.
She bent over and picked up a hand saw from the left side of where she was sitting. She held it in front of her, showing it to the camera. Then, she placed the jagged blade on the side of her cheek. I cringed at what I was seeing. Slowly, she began slicing into her right cheek. Blood drizzled down her neck as she did it. Slowly, the side of her teeth began to show after about ten seconds.
As the saw went lower on her face, more of her teeth began to show on the side. Blood covered almost the entire right side of her face. She eventually got to the bottom of her jaw bone, and sawed a tiny piece off of it too. Her cheek fell to the ground with a small thud, and she put the saw in her lap and continued to stare at the camera, emotionless. I couldn't take much more of this and tore the battery out of the laptop - but the video continued to play.
Then, the next cut began. The girl screamed in extreme pain. I almost fell out of my seat, it was so loud. She screamed, and put her hands over her now absent cheek. She continued to scream in agony for about ten seconds, then a knocking was heard from the side. It was a woman, yelling in a language I couldn't understand. She was pounding the door, but not opening it. The girl must have locked it. I tried to unplug the monitor from the laptop but it was stuck in. I didn't want to see what happened next. The screaming and the yelling continued up until the next cut.
She was back in her emotionless state again, but her cheek was still missing. The woman at the door was pounding and yelling still. It must have been her mother. The girl then raised the saw up to her right shoulder, and began cutting just as slowly as last time. I gagged at the sight of this. It was a holocaust of wrong.
The blood began to stream out in all directions. The yelling behind the door fell silent. I guessed the other woman was trying to get someone to help her, either the father or brother or what not. When she hit the bone, an awful grinding noise could be heard. I covered my ears, but I could still hear it vividly through my hands. I noticed that a piece of her muscle got stuck on one of the steel teeth of the saw. This cut ended a lot faster than before, and the next cut was the same thing except the color from her face was draining, and her pain ridden screams became quickly weaker. Her clothing was completely red with blood on the right side.
Then, she became emotionless again. Oh god, what is she going to cut off next? The mother returned with what sounded like two other people, and they were all yelling in the same language as before. She raised the saw, and began cutting the right side of her head off. Loud thuds were sounding at the door. They were trying to knock it down. She continued to work her way down, with blood going in all sorts of directions. The thuds still repeated themselves on the door. I was mostly confused as to how she kept going, even after she went through her brain with the saw. Her right eye rolled into the back of her head. Blood began leaking out of it. She eventually made it to the top of her mouth, where she hacked her way through bones and teeth. It was the single worst sound I have ever heard in my entire life. I still hear it in the back of my head some days.
The thuds continued, and deep in the back of my mind I hoped they wouldn't be able to break the door down so they wouldn't have to see such an awful sight. She finally made it through, and with that, the right side of her head fell to the side of her neck, held on only by a piece of skin. I remember the chilling sound of her jaw being unhinged when it was tugged violently by the force of the top half of her head. She put the saw down to her side.
The cut ended, and in the next cut, she simply fell face down onto the desk. Half her brain fell out onto the desk on impact, and her eye popped out of its socket. Blood pooled on the desk. The people trying to break down the door finally made it in, and they were hysterical at what they saw. Their daughter was in pieces. The mother vomited and ran out of the room. The father ran to the daughter, put her head back together and cried, holding her head at the side of his. The other man, presumably the girl's older brother, simply stared in horror at what he saw.
The horrifying self mutilation finished with that cut, and the screen cut back to the empty room with the bed. With a sigh of relief that it was over I sat there, breathing heavily and sweating. I didn't realize that the room was so hot until now.
I had so many questions to ask. How was all this possible? It frightened me, and I spent a good thirty minutes sitting in the chair, and finally, I got the courage to get up. I looked back at the laptop for what I hoped was the last time. The room with the bed glared on the screen. Then, it cut to something else.
It was a cut of my face, in the basement, using the laptop.